J.J. Abrams is hard to pin down as a filmmaker. For someone who’s made as many massive blockbuster films as he has, it’s still difficult to describe exactly what a “J.J Abrams” movie is. And yet, he’s put his stamp on some of the most iconic franchises in history and has solidified himself as a household name.
His time in the spotlight began with a focus on storytelling, as he created, showran, and directed the TV series Felicity and Alias. But it was Lost, a show he co-created, that really put him on the map as the two-hour pilot that he directed still stands today as one of the best, most cinematic pilots in history. He obviously then went on to try his hand at franchise filmmaking, always imbuing each film with a sense of joy and wonderment. Indeed, his films even have a bit of a subversive streak – his take on Mission: Impossible, an action franchise, was to turn it into a relationship story; and say what you will about The Force Awakens, but Abrams and Co. made a conscious decision for their two main heroes to be a young woman and a Black man.
And while Abrams has only made six films thus far, the fact remains that he’s one of the most powerful and influential directors in Hollywood – in 2019 he signed a deal worth $250 million to develop, produce, and direct projects for WarnerMedia through his Bad Robot Productions company. So with all eyes on what Abrams might do next now that Star Wars is in his rearview, it felt like as good a time as any to revisit his filmography and try and suss out some common themes throughout his work.
Behold, every J.J. Abrams movie ranked.